Being realistic, not all marketing and business development efforts will be great success stories. For every fantastic client landed there will always be one that chose your competition and for every great article sent to a colleague there will be one or two that slipped through the cracks. The key is to always be aware of those highs and lows and learn from them. The better you are about keeping track of your efforts, the more helpful that information will become as you grow and evolve your plans and initiatives. So how to do it? Here are five words to help you …


No matter how busy you may be, you must make time to (at the very least) jot down notes about your marketing initiatives. Two ideas: 1. Keep a notebook or small padfolio specifically for marketing purposes—that way you can quickly jot down notes post-meeting/speech/pitch/event for later reference. 2. Open a file in your computer and keep a running list of all marketing initiatives. You can do the same note taking—only digitally, on your PDA or laptop—and then transfer it all at a later date to your one main file.


One of the only ways you’ll be able to reap the benefits of keeping track of your efforts is if you take note of the details. Write down names and dates, important topics discussed, what materials you presented, what the reaction was, etc… Later, when you have a bit of distance from the situation or event, it will give you all the information you need to see where you succeeded or failed in that particular endeavor.


Another key to real take-away is to be honest. If you had a bad day or a weak presentation, write it down. The same for a stellar showing. If you nailed your elevator speech on a moment’s notice, stop and write down what you said. You have to be honest about what you did to truly make use of it later.


Once you’ve accumulated a year’s worth of this kind of information (or less if you’re so inclined), set aside time to delve into the information and make sense of it. Look back at each and every success and failure and try to understand exactly where you went wrong…or right! Try to see where you lost that potential client, what handout made the most impact at your presentation, where your speech lost your audience, or even which blog posts drew the most views (or comments).

The final step? Application.

Apply the lessons learned to future initiatives and see the results. That doesn’t have to mean reworking your entire plan. It could mean something as simple as removing a line or two from your bio or rethinking your pitching style. It’s also a great way to weed out initiatives that don’t feel comfortable. If you’re clearly excelling in one particular area, it may be time to place your focus there, rather than spread yourself thin. Whatever the outcome, looking back and celebrating your successes—and your failures—is a fantastic lesson and a great start to a new marketing and business development year.

Black Pearl: Here is what Cordell Parvin did when he was impatient for results, “I evaluated each of my efforts and decided which ones were not effective [and] I tried harder”. Click here to see the full article: “If You Haven’t Seen Results from Your Client Development Efforts, Think About This.”